Review: Quiet – Susan Cain

quietSo, 2015 I promised myself I would read more non-fiction. I found this book through Kathe Mazur – an actress in the US drama Major Crimes – as she narrated the audiobook. She mentioned it on twitter and I was instantly intrigued by the premise of it as I identify as an introvert and I often feel as if I have to justify that (people are often surprised too). So I eventually picked this book up and it was interesting.

I found the science behind introversion and extroversion something I would personally like to look at more, especially the evolution of the two traits and how they’ve developed over time with benefits to both. But really, all of the biology, neurology and psychology is so interesting and I wish there was just a little more of it. It’s something I’m definitely going to look in to more because it’s just so interesting!

While this did have adequate science, it did feel more like a study of corporate America at times. While this was, in the most part, relevant it sometimes detracted from the actual grit of the book. I didn’t feel I could identify with it as much because I’m not American! But I did like the insights in to people like Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt, the historical grasp on it was something I really enjoyed reading about; the corporate side not so much. I’m sorry, Wall Street business types just don’t interest me! Using these as examples of introverts who were able to overcome their crippling shyness or need to be alone (because shyness isn’t always an introvert-specific trait, as this book did teach me) to function didn’t really help; what would have been more powerful is more about the everyday office worker who overcame some of life’s obstacles would have been so much more tangible.

While the extroversion-ideal is present in the UK it’s not quite as prevalent, something I’ve particularly noticed at university is that it’s the international students (particularly those that are American) are the ones that don’t worry about putting their hand up to offer an answer or ask a question, they’re always the ones offering to do presentations. I’m an introvert; this book taught me so much about why I am the way I am and has really just highlighted that I’m not going to be ashamed of it or try to justify it any more.

Also, I did listen to some of this as an audiobook (I found it on youtube but I may invest in an actual download soon) and Kathe Mazur is just sublime. Her voice is just perfect for the tone of this book. I’m not often a fan of an audiobook but she’s almost convinced me! The audiobook is around 10hrs 30, but this book I really benefited from having it read to me at times.

A solid 4/5 – it’s taught me a lot, made me want to research the area more AND has made me more aware of myself. I’d recommend it to anyone; introvert or extrovert. It’s not the quickest read but it’s worth every minute!